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Education > Education Policy and Reform

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Scholars in the Marketplace. The Dilemmas of Neo-Liberal Reform at Makerere University, 1989-2005 Cover

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Scholars in the Marketplace. The Dilemmas of Neo-Liberal Reform at Makerere University, 1989-2005

The Dilemmas of Neo-Liberal Reform at Makerere University, 1989-2005

Scholars in the Marketplace is a case study of market-based reforms at Uganda's Makerere University. With the World Bank heralding neoliberal reform at Makerere as the model for the transformation of higher education in Africa, it has implications for the whole continent. At the global level, the Makerere case exemplifies the fate of public universities in a market-oriented and capital friendly era. The Makerere reform began in the 1990s and was based on the premise that higher education is more of a private than a public good. Instead of pitting the public against the private, and the state against the market, this book shifts the terms of the debate toward a third alternative than explores different relations between the two. The book distinguishes between privatisation and commercialisation, two processes that drove the Makerere reform. It argues that whereas privatisation (the entry of privately sponsored students) is compatible with a public university where priorities are publicly set, commercialisation (financial and administrative autonomy for each faculty to design a market-responsive curriculum) inevitably leads to a market determination of priorities in a public university. The book warns against commercialisation of public universities as the subversion of public institutions for private purposes.

School as Community Cover

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School as Community

From Promise to Practice

An increasingly important and appealing concept for school renewal is that of school as community. While community holds multiple promises for schools, little is known about the practice of community in schools. This collection furthers our understanding about the nature of school community, its practice in public schools, and the role of leadership in this practice. Of particular importance is the question of how community can be created and sustained in K–12 public schools with highly diverse populations.

School Choice Tradeoffs Cover

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School Choice Tradeoffs

Liberty, Equity, and Diversity

By R. Kenneth Godwin and Frank R. Kemerer

An overview of the issues in school choice.

School Money Trials Cover

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School Money Trials

The Legal Pursuit of Educational Adequacy

Edited by Martin R. West and Paul E. Peterson

“Adequacy lawsuits” have emerged as an alternative strategy in pursuit of improved public education in America. Plaintiffs allege insufficient resources to provide students with the quality of education promised in their state’s constitution, hoping the courts will step in and order the state to increase its level of aid. Since 1980, 45 of the 50 states have faced such suits. How pervasive—and effective—is this trend? What are its ramifications, at the school district level and on a broader scope? This important new book addresses these questions. The contributors consider the legal theory behind adequacy lawsuits, examining how the education clauses in state constitutions have been reinterpreted. According to James Guthrie and Matthew Springer, this trend has more fully politicized the process of cost modeling in school finance. Frederick Hess looks at the politics of adequacy implementation. Research by Christopher Berry of Harvard finds that the most significant result of the movement has not resulted in broad-ranging changes in school funding. How the No Child Left Behind Act and adequacy lawsuits impact one another is an especially interesting question, as addressed by Andrew Rudalevige and Michael Heise. This is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the adequacy lawsuit strategy, a topic of increasing importance in a controversial area of public policy that touches virtually all Americans. It will be of interest to readers engaged in education policy discussions and those concerned about the power of the courts to make policy rather than simply to enforce it.

Schools in the Landscape Cover

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Schools in the Landscape

Localism, Cultural Tradition, and the Development of Alabama's Public Education System, 1865-1915

Written by Edith M. Ziegler

This richly researched and impressively argued work is a history of public schooling in Alabama in the half century following the Civil War. It engages with depth and sophistication Alabama’s social and cultural life in the period that can be characterized by the three “R”s: Reconstruction, redemption, and racism. Alabama was a mostly rural, relatively poor, and culturally conservative state, and its schools reflected the assumptions of that society.

Science and the University Cover

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Science and the University

Edited by Paula E. Stephan and Ronald G. Ehrenberg

Science and the University investigates the tremendous changes that have taken place in university research over the past several decades, gauging the current state of research in higher education and examining issues and challenges crucial to its future. Scientific research increasingly dominates the aims and agendas of many American universities, and this proliferation—and changes in the way research is conducted—has given rise to important questions about the interrelations of higher education, funding for scientific research, and government policy. The cost of doing science, the commercialization of university research, the changing composition and number of Ph.D. students, the effect of scientific research on other university programs—these are just a few of the many issues explored in this volume from the vantage points of scholars in such diverse fields as economics, biochemistry, genetics, and labor studies.

Searching for Hope Cover

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Searching for Hope

Life at a Failing School in the Heart of America

Matthew Tully

Searching for Hope is a gripping account of life in a once-great high school in a rough Indianapolis neighborhood. Granted unfiltered access to Manual High throughout an entire school year, award-winning journalist Matthew Tully tells the complex story of the everyday drama, failures, and triumphs in one of the nation's many troubled urban public high schools. He walks readers into classrooms, offices, and hallways, painting a vivid picture of the profound academic problems, deep frustrations, and apathy that absorb and sometimes consume students, teachers, and administrators. Yet this intimate view also reveals the hopes, dreams, and untapped talents of some amazing individuals. Providing insights into the challenges confronting those who seek to improve the quality of America's schools, Tully argues that school leaders and policy makers must rally communities to heartfelt engagement with their schools if the crippling social and economic threats to cities such as Indianapolis are to be averted.

The Seeds We Planted Cover

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The Seeds We Planted

Portraits of a Native Hawaiian Charter School

Noelani Goodyear-Ka'opua


In 1999, Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua was among a group of young educators and parents who founded Hālau Kū Māna, a secondary school that remains one of the only Hawaiian culture-based charter schools in urban Honolulu. The Seeds We Planted tells the story of Hālau Kū Māna against the backdrop of the Hawaiian struggle for self-determination and the U.S. charter school movement, revealing a critical tension: the successes of a school celebrating indigenous culture are measured by the standards of settler colonialism.


How, Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua asks, does an indigenous people use schooling to maintain and transform a common sense of purpose and interconnection of nationhood in the face of forces of imperialism and colonialism? What roles do race, gender, and place play in these processes? Her book, with its richly descriptive portrait of indigenous education in one community, offers practical answers steeped in the remarkable—and largely suppressed—history of Hawaiian popular learning and literacy.


This uniquely Hawaiian experience addresses broader concerns about what it means to enact indigenous cultural–political resurgence while working within and against settler colonial structures. Ultimately, The Seeds We Planted shows that indigenous education can foster collective renewal and continuity.


Social Constructions of Deafness Cover

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Social Constructions of Deafness

Examining Deaf Languacultures in Education

Thomas P. Horejes

Thomas P. Horejes’s new book focuses on revealing critical knowledge that addresses certain social justice issues, including deafness, language, culture, and deaf education. He conveys this information through discourses about his own experiences being deaf and through his research in which he “stresses the contingency of the social” in educational institutions. In Social Constructions of Deafness: Examining Deaf Languacultures in Education, Horejes contends that schools as social institutions play powerful and exacting roles in the creation and maintenance of social constructions such as language and culture for deaf children. He subscribes to Michael Agar’s concept of “languaculture,” defined as the inextricable relationship between language and culture in which a specific language will shape and influence culture. His approach employs other anthropological methodology as he connects his personal experiences as a deaf student (emic) to academic research on deafness (etic) to bring understanding to the multidimensional aspects of his own negotiated identities. Horejes extends his inquiry through his analysis of two kindergarten classes for deaf students, one orally oriented and the other conducted using sign language. His findings are sobering evidence of the myriad challenges educators face in defining appropriate academic, linguistic, and cultural pedagogy for deaf children in schools and other social institutions.

Steady Gains and Stalled Progress Cover

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Steady Gains and Stalled Progress

Inequality and the Black-White Test Score Gap

Addressing the disparity in test scores between black and white children remains one of the greatest social challenges of our time. Between the 1960s and 1980s, tremendous strides were made in closing the achievement gap, but that remarkable progress halted abruptly in the mid 1980s, and stagnated throughout the 1990s. How can we understand these shifting trends and their relation to escalating economic inequality? In Steady Gains and Stalled Progress, interdisciplinary experts present a groundbreaking analysis of the multifaceted reasons behind the test score gap—and the policies that hold the greatest promise for renewed progress in the future. Steady Gains and Stalled Progress shows that while income inequality does not directly lead to racial differences in test scores, it creates and exacerbates disparities in schools, families, and communities—which do affect test scores. Jens Ludwig and Jacob Vigdor demonstrate that the period of greatest progress in closing the gap coincided with the historic push for school desegregation in the 1960s and 1970s. Stagnation came after efforts to integrate schools slowed down. Today, the test score gap is nearly 50 percent larger in states with the highest levels of school segregation.  Katherine Magnuson, Dan Rosenbaum, and Jane Waldfogel show how parents’ level of education affects children’s academic performance: as educational attainment for black parents increased in the 1970s and 1980s, the gap in children’s test scores narrowed. Sean Corcoran and William Evans present evidence that teachers of black students have less experience and are less satisfied in their careers than teachers of white students. David Grissmer and Elizabeth Eiseman find that the effects of economic deprivation on cognitive and emotional development in early childhood lead to a racial divide in school readiness on the very first day of kindergarten. Looking ahead, Helen Ladd stresses that the task of narrowing the divide is not one that can or should be left to schools alone. Progress will resume only when policymakers address the larger social and economic forces behind the problem. Ronald Ferguson masterfully interweaves the volume’s chief findings to highlight the fact that the achievement gap is the cumulative effect of many different processes operating in different contexts. The gap in black and white test scores is one of the most salient features of racial inequality today. Steady Gains and Stalled Progress provides the detailed information and powerful insight we need to understand a complicated past and design a better future.

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